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Be prepared
August 29, 2019

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An increasingly strong Hurricane Dorian was headed towards Florida at press time Thursday after whipping the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with high winds and rain Wednesday.

The first major storm of the season to threaten Florida, Dorian is predicted to achieve Category 4 status when it makes landfall - anywhere from the Florida Keys to southern Georgia, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Two Thursday projection models, one by NOAA and the other the so-called European model, has the storm making landfall on Florida's east coast, crossing midstate and entering the Gulf around Tampa, or Cape Coral, perhaps early Tuesday morning.

A couple of things.

One, early projections are just that - projections, which is why the U.S. Hurricane Center tends to apply a broad brush this far out.

Two, regardless of what model, or what projection proves accurate, it's time to prepare for anyone whose "hurricane kit" is not at the ready.

It was only two years ago that Floridians dealt with Hurricane Irma, whose projected path drifted hither and yon across the state, forcing not only evacuations, but re-evacuations.

Irma finally made landfall over Cudjoe Key as a Category 4 storm, and then made landfall again in Southwest Florida near Marco Island as a Category 3. It blew through eastern Lee County, leaving heavy flooding in its wake, and, unfortunately, hammering home two hard lessons: 1) That scientific method can project, but not predict, and 2) You can't be too prepared or prepare too soon.

So what does "preparedness" mean?

Let us share the standard tips:

It means it's time to gather documents, compile supplies and put together evacuation plans.

It's time to stockpile certain goods, including water and non-perishable food and snacks to last three to seven days; a non-electric can opener, paper plates and utensils that won't need to be washed; flashlights and other portable, self-powered light sources; batteries; medications; and ice chests.

Officials also suggest we ready portable and NOAA weather-band radios and waterproof tarps, and that we make sure we have containers of fuel for propane grills or portable generators.

Storm shutters or plywood for windows remain a good idea for battening down the hatches if and when a watch is issued.

If ordered to evacuate, we should all have important papers, Social Security cards, immunization records, cash and prescription medications at the ready along with special supplies for children, and carriers and food for any pets.

For more information on getting prepared, we invite you to visit cape-coral-daily-breeze.com where we have posted our annual Hurricane Guide.

It is accessible under "news" or via a "flip book" under "e-editions." All of the information provided by Lee County Emergency Management and other sources will be available online all season.

As Hurricane Dorian continues its move towards Florida, we will keep you updated both in print and on-line.

We also invite you to sign up for Facebook notifications, which will provide you with updates as they are received by The Breeze newsroom. The icon to sign up also can be found on the top right hand of our homepage - just click on the Facebook button and then select "like" to stay informed.

Be prepared.

Be safe.

- Breeze editorial

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